Women’s Basketball Seeks to Build on Last Year’s Postseason Success
Issue   |   Thu, 11/10/2016 - 23:59

Division III women’s basketball national runners-up, the purple and white of Amherst, return to their home court this season, looking to dominate the NESCAC and into postseason once again. Last year, before falling to Thomas More in the NCAA championship finals, the team capured a NESCAC championship and finished the season with an impressive 30-2 overall record. The Amherst squad looks to start the season strong, as they return the majority of their starting lineup and add four newcomers.

An all-star senior class highlights the returning group, composed of Jamie Renner, Meredith Doswell and sister Ali Doswell, who has just been named a D3hoops.com Preseason All-American. Ali Doswell was one of two NESCAC players to be honored, along with Tufts’ Michaela North.

Last season, Ali Doswell averaged a team high 14.3 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, and connected with 36.7 percent of her shots behind the arc.

Twin sister Meredith Doswell returns as a defensive powerhouse for the team, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game and 1.6 blocks. The team will also be glad to have Renner back. A guard averaging 7.4 points per game, Renner is a workhorse on the court, averaging 2.9 assists per contest.

The talented purple and white squad also looks to return a promising junior class led by forward Hannah Hackley, the only player to start all 32 games for Amherst in the 2015-2016 season.

Hackley adds another versatile offensive weapon to the purple and white’s starting lineup, having averaged 11.5 points per game last season, five rebounds per game and 1.6 helpers per contest. Rounding out the class of 2018 are Jackie Nagle and Jenna Schumacher, both looking to make triumphant returns to the floor this year for the purple and white after suffering injuries that ended their seasons early last year.

An up-and-coming class of 2019 composed of Meghan Sullivan, Maeve McNamara and J.J. Daniell rounds out the returning players.

The purple and white welcome four first-years to their squad. The team will add guards Madeline Eck and Hannah Fox, forward Natalie Nardella, and forward/guard Cameron Hendricks.

McNamara will join the team after finishing out her soccer season for Amherst; the purple and white are currently competing in the NCAA tournament. Sullivan also looks to return from an injury stronger this year, while we can watch Daniell to improve on her breakout, first-year performance.

One of the biggest components that will be returning to LeFrak for the purple and white is ECAC New England Coach of the Year J.P. Gromacki.

Gromacki returns for his 10th season at the helm of the Amherst team, boasting an overall 262-24 record and six NESCAC championships. Gromacki currently holds the second highest winning percentage (0.873) among all active Division I, Division II and Division III collegiate coaches. Joining veteran Gromacki on his coaching staff is a fresh face in Victoria Stewart, who will serve as the team’s only assistant coach for the upcoming season.

Stewart is a 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst women’s basketball program, captaining the team in her junior and senior seasons and acting as the team representative for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for three years at UMass.

The purple and white hope to kick off its 2016-2017 campaign with a win when it hosts its annual tip-off tournament and faces Albertus Magnus College at 6 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.